Friday, March 25, 2011

Susan Rice Saving Career Through Libya?

Tony Gambino said in an interview with Jason Stearns:
"During the Cold War, US foreign policy globally had clear priorities. That clear lens, however, disappeared with the end of the Cold War in 1990"

Susan Rice @ambassadorrice tweeted yesterday
"Referred last night to @PaulKagame OpEd supporting int’l response in Libya. It’s behind paywall, but here’s recap:

Rwandan Prez @PaulKagame knows first hand the cost of international inaction. He strongly supports the int'l response in Libya to save lives"
When the US Ambassador at the United Nations quotes the support of a criminal who recently rigged elections in Rwanda, for military action in Libya, that deserves some meticulous attention. How should we understand her tweets?

Off course, the decision to push for a no-fly zone comes from Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers and Susan Rice as explained in this excellent article by the New York Times"Shift by Clinton" :
"The American involvement in military action in Libya should be limited — no ground troops — and finite. “Days, not weeks,” a senior White House official recalled him (the President) saying.
The shift in the administration’s position — from strong words against Libya to action — was forced largely by the events beyond its control: the crumbling of the uprising raised the prospect that Colonel Qaddafi would remain in power to kill “many thousands,” as Mr. Obama said at the White House on Friday.
The change became possible, though, only after Mrs. Clinton joined Samantha Power, a senior aide at the National Security Council, and Susan Rice, Mr. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, who had been pressing the case for military action, according to senior administration officials speaking only on condition of anonymity. Ms. Power is a former journalist and human rights advocate; Ms. Rice was an Africa adviser to President Clinton when the United States failed to intervene to stop the Rwanda genocide, which Mr. Clinton has called his biggest regret."
Learning from past mistakes, I am all for it, but let's not stop in 1994! Susan Rice is herself implicated in the disaster described in the Mapping report and of which Christoph Munzihirwa said:
"The world is stopping its ears because a larger ideology has been put into circulation, compared to which everything else is relative. Genocide become ‘ideological’ then works like a blank check that the current US administration has issued to Rwanda and Uganda to do anything they want to all the communities around in total impunity."
Susan Rice is quoted as saying the US government should "look the other away" while the RPF was butchering unarmed elderly, women and children, hundreds of thousands of them.
Howard French quotes Prunier:
"When Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice came back from her first trip to the Great Lakes region [of East Africa], a member of her staff said, “Museveni [of Uganda] and Kagame agree that the basic problem in the Great Lakes is the danger of a resurgence of genocide and they know how to deal with that. The only thing we [i.e., the US] have to do is look the other way.”
and adds:
"The gist of Prunier’s anecdote is correct, except that participants have confirmed to me that it was Rice herself who spoke these words."

That fact is tarnishing the legacy of Bill Clinton and Susan Rice, it's obvious that they would love people to "forget" that episode in the history of the great lakes. It's in the interest of both that the facts contained in the mapping report will get effectively burried. She has refused to answer questions concerning the US role in "looking away" during that time, as reported here by Michelle Faul in october 2010:
"Requests for interviews about the role the United States military and its diplomats played during Rwanda's invasion of Congo all were referred to the U.S. State Department, which did not respond to questions. U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who was assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 1997, refused a request for an interview."

For obvious reasons.

It could very well be that Susan Rice, through her tweets, is attempting to use the Libyan situation to counter critics inside the Obama administration who think the State Department and Pentagon should do some serious self reflection concerning past failures in former Zaïre as described in the mapping report.

Susan Rice is betting on success in Libya to get rid of her critics. A very dangerous gamble, while, as the New York Times explains, she certainly does not only have friends inside the Obama administration:
"In joining Ms. Rice and Ms. Power, Mrs. Clinton made an unusual break with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who, along with the national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and the counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, had urged caution. Libya was not vital to American national security interests, the men argued, and Mr. Brennan worried that the Libyan rebels remained largely unknown to American officials, and could have ties to Al Qaeda. "

In the meantime critics of a military solution to Libya, outside Obama's administration are not sitting on their hands.

Guido Westerwelle, Germany's foreign minister, has criticised Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president, for saying that European countries might consider military intervention in Arab countries other than Libya.
“I warn against having a discussion in Europe about a military intervention every time there is injustice in north Africa or in Arabia,” Westerwelle told a German radio station this morning (25 March). “I am convinced that there can only be a political solution in Libya. At the end of the day it is important that we clearly stand by the democrats,” he said. “But it is also clear that we cannot threaten military action against every country in north Africa where there is injustice.”
Some Conservatives Challenge Obama over Libya:
"Indeed, the freshmen tea partiers and Ron Paul supporters aren’t the only ones questioning the Libya "rescue" operation. Haley Barbour, a pillar of the Republican establishment of some considerable girth and weight, is not only asking "What are we doing in Libya?" but is also questioning our ten-year Afghan crusade, and wondering aloud why we can’t cut our bloated military budget"
Streiff writes on Redstate:
"My colleague RMJ has more details on this but is looks as though that the “rebels” being cheered on by Obama and al Qaeda are hardly a step up from the current regime"
When it comes to supporting democratic development in Libya how do we explain that we haven't heard anything on the "Libyan narrative" for example? Or why is it that we haven't read any phrases like "is Libya actually ready for the kind of democracy that we know in the west?", or does "Libyan civil society" actually exist? Phrases which were used by important lobbyists in Washington DC to make sure Paul Kagame could "win" the election in 2010.

Articles on the Libyan rebels. In Salon.

Gender Gap or a Difference in Perspective

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